Ciara’s Christmas Recipes


The recipes below are all meals that my family have cooked since I was a child – they have become tradition, which is why they so strongly remind me of Christmas time! Along with the traditional gingerbread house, the roast dinners and the Christmas pudding, these are some of my favourite Christmas meals. The braised red cabbage with gammon is our Christmas Eve dinner, and the pie is cooked every boxing day to use up any left-over turkey! Approaching the holidays, it’s always exciting (for uni students, especially) to be coming home to a house full of food and home cooked meals, instead of super noodles and pasta for every meal! I know that every family has traditions at Christmas, but this year maybe mix it up slightly and cook some Christmassy meals that you haven’t had before! Enjoy!

Braised Red Cabbage


1 kg red cabbage

450g onions, chopped small

450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small

1 clove garlic, chopped very small

¼ whole grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

3 tablespoons wine vinegar

15g butter


  • Preheat the oven to 150° C
  • Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the hard stalk
  • Then shred the rest of the cabbage finely with a sharp knife or in a food processor
  • In a large casserole dish, place a layer of the cabbage seasoned with salt and pepper, add a layer of chopped onions and apples with a sprinkle of the garlic. Continue these alternate layers until all the ingredients have been used
  • Then pour in the wine vinegar and add pieces of butter on the top
  • Put a lid on the dish and cook slowly for 2 – 2 ½ hours – stir once or twice during the cooking
  • And that’s it! This red cabbage freezes well and is delicious – the perfect Christmas recipe! It goes perfectly with a ham joint or with Christmas dinner

Extra Easy Mode:

  • Just bung all of the ingredients in the pot and give it a stir, then cook for the same amount of time – it works just as well and saves lots of time!

Mum’s Ham, Leek and Turkey/Chicken Pie

This recipe is great for using up Christmas leftovers of just for a big meal – it freezes well and is really tasty!


2oz butter

2oz plain flour

2 leeks, chopped

300g cooked ham/gammon (cut into chunks)

500g cooked turkey (cut into chunks)

3fl double cream

1 pint chicken or turkey stock

Salt and pepper

Puff pastry (I usually use a pre made packet)

Small amount of milk


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200° C. Heat some butter in a pan and sauté the leeks until soft. Add the flour and soak up the juices and then add the stock little by little stirring all the time until you have a thick sauce that is bubbling
  • Add the cream, and season with salt and pepper. Finish by stirring in the turkey and ham
  • Pour the mixture into to a ceramic dish. Roll out the puff pastry so that it covers the dish, wetting the edge of the dish so the pastry sticks. Any extras you have you can fashion into shapes to decorate the pie – I like to cut leaves out and place them on the middle. Brush the pastry all over with some milk or a beaten egg – this helps the pastry to go a golden brown and crisps nicely
  • Make sure you cut two lines into the pastry as air holes, and then bake for around 35-40 minutes (keep an eye on it as all pastry cooks differently and may take less time – as you can see in my picture I left it in slightly too long!)

Leek and Potato Soup

I always associate Christmas time and the winter with lots of homemade soup, and my favourite to make is leek and potato! It’s really simple and quick but is a lovely meal!


2 medium sized potatoes

3 leeks

2 vegetable stock cubes

Black pepper


  • Peel and dice the potatoes and add to a sauce pan. Chop the leeks and add them to the pan too
  • Add around 1 pint of boiling water to 2 stock cubes and stir – then add to the potato and leeks and heat and bring to the boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 -30 minutes
  • Once the potatoes have cooked through, the soup is ready! Season with pepper and salt in you like. You can eat it like this, or you can use a potato masher or an electric blender to make the soup smooth. And that’s it!

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